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Fed Cir Invalidates Patent Troll's Device Profiling Patent

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By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on July 22, 2014 1:10 PM

Patent trolls have a bad rap, understandably so, and recently the Federal Circuit ruled against a patent troll whose actions were described as "unethical to say the least," by one print media consultant.

The Federal Circuit brings to a close litigation that the troll brought against the likes of Xerox, EFI, Konica Minolta, Fujifilm and Ricoh.

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The Patent

Digitech is the current assignee and holder of U.S. Patent No. 6,128,415, a patent originally filed by Polaroid in 1996, which is "directed to a device profile and a method for creating a device profile within a digital image processing system." Or, in other words, the patent basically described a color system to normalize the varying colors one could get from different digital imaging devices. Digitech sued 32 companies for infringing patent '415.

District Court's Decision

The patent infringement claims were filed in the Central District of California, and several defendants sought to invalidate the '415 patent under 35 U.S.C. § 101, and filed a motion for summary judgment. The court granted the motion stating, "This broad, structureless claim preempts the entire field of device-independent characterization paradigms for digital-image processing and cannot be said to be patent-eligible subject matter."

Federal Circuit

On appeal, the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court's ruling stating, "we hold that the process described in the asserted claims is directed to an abstract idea and is not patent eligible under section 101." The decision was lauded by many in the industry. EFI's General Counsel Bryan Ko stated, "The Federal Circuit's decision confirms what we have maintained from the outset: that the patent is invalid and that EFI and its partners should not have been sued in the first place." He added: "We will continue to fight these kinds of meritless lawsuits in as many courts as is necessary to protect ourselves, our partners and our customers. As we have said before, we will not be bullied into settling abusive lawsuits by patent trolls," reports The Wall Street Journal.

No word yet on whether Digitech will appeal or seek rehearing en banc, but it is doubtful.

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